Sunday, August 31, 2014

Around the parish

This is Ivy Hall, ironically not ivied. 100 years ago Philadelphia's Overbrook section, my parish's territory, was posh like the Main Line suburbs across City Avenue a few blocks away. I think this was the home and studio of a ballerina. Anyway, it's our unofficial hall for very grand occasions, when the undercroft (where we have coffee hour one Sunday a month) and the official hall in our former convent (we lost our nuns when we lost our school, now a charter school) aren't enough. The archdiocese doesn't own it; a parishioner, my ex-boss from a former part-time job, does. A conservative Catholic social center. Met Fr. George Rutler here twice. His former secretary from Good Shepherd, Rosemont, went Greek Orthodox; she's a parishioner at St. Demetrios (which is Greek, not convert) near home. I met her here too. And she and Father are still friends.

This is really the Memorial Church of St. Paul. St. Thomas, Philadelphia's historic black Episcopal congregation, moved here in recent years. At one point, when it was deep in West Philly, St. Thomas had become Anglo-Catholic, for a few reasons. The Episcopalians were being a little condescending, thinking blacks "like that sort of thing" so it's fine for them; the historic Anglo-Catholic commitment to social ministry (yes, at their best they had small-o orthodoxy, Tridentine liturgics with panache because it was done for the love of it, and social ministry), and if you were a seriously Anglo-Catholic priest you didn't have much of a future in Episcopalianism so they put you in the ghetto parish. Anyway, interestingly the congregation isn't exclusively black. Sometimes they have Sunday festivals displaying outside the flags of the British Caribbean islands many parishioners come from; historically they were A-C too but now they're on board with women priests (so that makes them New Anglo-Catholics, as hard as that is for me to say; Anglican authority is church authority to them).

What's the story again about Anglicans and red church doors?

Pardon me; does your church have a porte-cochère? But of course!

Processional: it's good to be home. Several of us are Anglo-Catholic alumni but we didn't start this here! A priest inspired by Pope Benedict did.

Mass: Deus, in adjutorium meum intende. Epistle: "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." Gospel: The Good Samaritan. "Who is my neighbor?" Fr. Matthew said the church is like the inn, taking care of us put-upon travelers until Jesus returns.

Commemoration of St. Raymond Nonnatus, a friar in the order in charge of the parish. Which explains the white vestments. The Mercedarians were originally a medieval Spanish order that put it all on the line, volunteering to take the place of Christians captured by the Mohammedans. Makes me proud to be part Spanish.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comment